Set to the backdrop of the scenic views of Lake Michigan and downtown Milwaukee was this year’s Warped Tour. This all ages 1-day traveling music fest featured 7 stages, vendor village, interacting booths with bands and fans, food and drink and more. Warped Tour spans the Summer, crisscrossing the country and features some of the biggest names in Music. Bands that played this year in Milwaukee included: Sum 41, Motionless in White, Ice Nine kills, Set it Off, Sleeping With Sirens, Mayday Parade, Real Big Fish, Good Charlotte, coldrain, Young Guns, Assuming We Survive and Bad Seed Rising to name just a few. What is it like for the fans and the bands at and on Warped Tour? I will tell you from a fan view what it is like and we had a chance to chat with a few bands on what it is like to be part of one of the best and long running festivals in the music world. Look for our interviews with Set It Off, Reel Big Fish, Young Guns, Assuming We Survive, and coldrain coming soon…
As a fan, here’s what you can expect and need to know about Warped Tour. Let’s start with the easy stuff… it is summer, it is always hot, wear sunscreen and hydrate. Sounds simple but you are there all day running from stage to stage and it never fails that hot describes both the bands on stage and the skin being burnt. There was a blow up water-slide that was open to give you a reprieve from the the heat and that brings me to my next point… seven stages of music. That much music at one time is a music fan’s dream but that means you need to know who you want to see, when, and where. To help you on your music voyage that is Warped Tour, check out “The Board”. The “board” is a huge blow up posting all the bands on the stages they will be on. I suggest that you scoop up a program for $2 because you will need it to see who plays where. The programs also include a map of the grounds, pointing out bathrooms, lockers, food, drink, and merch alley. One thing that makes merch alley so much different on Warped Tour than any other festival is that many of the bands are at the booths hanging and chatting with fans and selling merch. It is this experience of fans interacting with bands that make Warped Tour a fan favorite. As a fan at Warped Tour you get a chance to see bands you know and love and also bands that are up and coming in the music world. Those bands include bands like Assuming We Survive, Bad Seed Rising, Young Guns and many more.
I asked bands what it is like to be part of Warped Tour. A few responses I got were “(Warped Tour) is the best and hardest tour ever. Another one was, “If you can make it on Warped Tour you can do any tour”, “They don’t have anything like this where I am from (Japanese band coldrain)” and more. You may wonder why these were the answers. Well, as I said, Warped Tour crosses the country, so bands play a show in one state and have to be in a different state the next day. Some of the bands have a tour bus and driver(s), but some do their own driving. That means they play, drive, play, drive… day after day and back to back to back. That is brutal for anyone, yet it is how the tour rolls and that is one reason why Rock and Roll Never sleeps. Bands will tell you there stories of Warped with nothing but love and smiles, even the brutal parts.
ROCKwell UnScene got to hang with some of the bands at the Warped Tour Milwaukee stop. During our conversation with Set It Off we got to hear tour stories, and then we got into ink and… tails? Yes you read that right. I will let you read or watch the interview for you to figure out what the tail story is. I can say this though, the guys got matching tattoos while on this Warped Tour. In fact, they were so new (only a day old) that their matching ink still had the wrap on it. Now Set It Off can add this experience to their already awesome bundle of Warped Tour experiences.
Covering Warped Tour for ROCKwell UnScene was a first for us personally even though we’ve had it covered for our magazine previously. I have gone as a fan, but never as media. I have to say it was a blast. Our staff at the show included Myself (Mischievous Mel, Rockwell Anderson and Sky Marie (SideKick). Sidekick not only shot 95% of the festival, she got to do shoot one of her all time favorite bands ever and that is Sum41. It is awesome to see how music spans the generations.
Sum41, being from the 90‘s, is music from when I was a teen and when she was born, yet she fell in love with them and she not only got to see them, but she got to shoot them. I guess I pat myself on the back for making music part of her life too. She also took the time out to crowd surf (when she didn’t have a camera in her hands). After all, is that not one of the best experiences to take home from a festival?
So to recap for you, Warped to me is the Best and Most Brutal tour for the bands. The fans love Warped because there is so much “fan to band” interaction. There are ample stages filled with music we love and music that is new. In short, if you are a music fan you must be at a Warped Tour date when they come to your town.